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Ten Ways to Increase Home Value When Selling

Updated on June 19, 2013

Update, Sell, Save.

If you are in the process of beginning to sell your home, there are numerous things you can do without tons of money that will increase value and help the property sell faster. In considering which updates to make, you should ask yourself a few questions.

  • What is the first negative thing that would catch my eye if I were walking into this house for the first time?
  • What updates will provide the most value for the smallest investment?
  • Will this change allow the buyer to envision his own style and decor in the house without distractions from my own? Is it neutral?

It is important to keep these things in mind. You ideally want to tackle the most noticeable things first. Don't always assume the things that cost the most are the best updates to make. It is also important to adapt the mind of the buyer through the process. Do not assume because you like a particular color that your buyers will as well. Think neutrality when making updates. That is what a buyer wants. More than likely, they are going to change the style of the house anyway, so allow them to envision this. After all, you are selling, not re-buying it yourself!

Here are ten cost effective ideas to increasing value without huge investments:


1. Paint

This may seem obvious, but it is often overlooked by people looking to sell their house. If you have a little girls room that is bright pink and a buyer has no kids, it may distract them from envisioning their own decor and style. I suggest taking some time and repainting every room you think may need it. Even if it is a neutral color, it may be faded and appear old. Refresh it with a new coat. It will brighten up the room and add contrast, giving it a new home feel.

Also, I suggest sticking with whites and tans. Just because you think sunshine yellow is perfect for the bathroom based on the lighting scheme, your buyer will probably have different taste. Keep it simple and you are more likely to get a bid sooner.


2. Update Lighting

A new light fixture can do wonders to a room. If you have an older home, you probably have outdated lighting that isn't very appealing to the modern home buyer. A fluorescent, industrial looking light in the kitchen is not as popular as it used to be. While it is not as inexpensive as painting, adding recessed lighting to a kitchen, bedroom, or as many rooms as you can afford will add tremendous value in the consumers eyes.

I want to stress the importance of lighting in the kitchen here. Even if you have a relatively small kitchen, adding recessed or track lighting (perhaps with a dimmer switch) will make the room have a more welcoming feel. People spend a lot of time in the kitchen if it is inviting and well lit. Make it inviting to your buyer.


3. Doors

I am mainly speaking of interior doors. These can be purchased at Lowe's or Home Depot. A person could put new interior doors in their entire home for a few hundred dollars, depending on the type of door chosen and the number of rooms.

When people are looking at a house, they are going to be opening and closing doors. Having matching, nice looking, and preferably heavier doors will tell the consumer subconsciously he is looking at a well built, nice house. This may not seem terribly important at first. But having interior doors that open and close with ease and have a stabilized feel will increase value in the mind of the consumer.


4. Cabinet Doors

Many people wish they had the money to update their cabinets. Everyone wants a dream kitchen with nice looking cabinets that look new and up to date. Cabinets can run thousands and thousands of dollars depending on the kind you get. However, many dont realize you dont have to replace the cabinets. You can replace the doors.

The number and size of your cabinets will obviously determine cost here, but the price is much less than replacing cabinets themselves. Often times, the cabinets are not the problem. Cabinet doors wear, not cabinets. Doors come in a variety of wood styles and stain can be bought to match the color of your existing cabinets. I do suggest spending a little more and not getting the flat style doors. Get nice, heavier style doors. This will add quite a bit to the value of the home and justify a higher selling price. Value added is much higher than cost with new cabinet doors.


5. New Hardware

Rather than replacing cabinets or interior doors, you can replace the knobs and pulls with even less money. I also suggest a new exterior handle set as well for the front door. Matching knobs on interior doors that are not chipped, rusted, faded, or loose will again give the buyer a new home feel. The same goes for the knobs and pulleys in the kitchen and bathroom.

Hardware may seem too small to notice as well, but it is very important the vibe your home gives. Buyers will be opening and closing kitchen cabinets and drawers. They will notice the hardware. Make it a neutral, sturdy style knob and they will in turn feel the home is well built and well maintained.


6. Flooring

I understand replacing carpet can be expensive. I only recommend replacing the carpet in your home if it is distracting from the feel the house gives. If it is worn, very old, or the color is strange, you may want to put most of your update budget into this.

There is a trick to making rooms look bigger than they are with flooring. If you have an open floor plan with a small kitchen and big living room (or vice versa), you can make the kitchen look bigger by expanding the floor coverage. You dont have to get marble or ceramic tiles, laminate tiles look just as good and are far cheaper. Simply replace one room and take it out a little bit further than it previously would. you will provide a good aesthetic update, and give the room a bigger, spacious feel.


7. Add Molding or Trim

Adding crown molding to a room gives it a luxurious feeling that was not previously there. This goes especially well with fresh paint. If you have a smaller house, adding trim and molding will give the house charm and make it much more pleasing and new to your buyers eyes.

If your house is a pretty large one, you probably have trim and molding already. If not, this is a no brainer. Even if you do, you may want to consider freshening it up with paint. Lower trim can take a beating if you have little ones around, so make sure it looks new. Also, be sure to keep molding consistent throughout. Don't put one style in a dining room and another in a bedroom. It's just confusing and distracting.


8. Wash the Exterior

Many people can live in a house for twenty or more years without ever considering washing the the exterior. This can be done with a pressure washer with a high PSI. They can be rented for not that much money.

Cleaning the brick or siding of a house makes it look ten years younger. Our houses become weathered over time and a quick cleaning will make them look much more presentable. The first thing your buyer will notice when arriving is the exterior. Make sure you have good curb appeal by cleaning the dirt and cobwebs away. It gives potential buyers a good first impression and sets the stage.


9. Window Updates

Yes, this has potential to get pricey. But again, it has one of the biggest value adding potentials. Windows can also make a house look new and fresh. If you can't afford the whole house, replace a room where you typically spend the most time. A nice, clean window can make a bad view seem better.

If you cannot afford windows, try updating the blinds to a solid wood. You can also add shutters. Even if windows are old and faded, a nice set of blinds or shutters will take the focus off the fact the windows are dated. They are also relatively easy to install. Be sure to take measurements before you go to the hardware store.


10. Landscaping

I do not mean mowing your grass, although I recommend that! If you have dead bushes in the front of your house, it would be a good idea to rip them up and make a flower bed in its place. Another simple, cost effective solution is to surround an area with light colored stones and putting red mulch inside them. Place a few additional stones on top of the mulch. This is a very clean, nice look that will appeal to buyers.

Landscaping is critically important. do not underestimate it. the overall feel of a neighborhood can be determined on how well people maintain their grass, trees, etc. Don't be the family with the nice house and ugly yard. Increase curb appeal and do a little yard work. It will pay off.

Good Luck!

There are other cost effective methods to updating your home and getting it sold faster and for more money. You can add little features to give it charm and character, but don't go overboard. Again, Ask yourself the three questions above before deciding what to do. Put yourself in the place of the buyer. Stick with neutrality and make the buyer feel like he or she is getting a new house. Obviously, doing all of the above suggestions will be a big expenditure. Pick two or three you think work best for your house and your current financial situation.

A little bit can go a long way. Best of Luck!!


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